Our Fave Foods -- a List

Maybe you don't know this, but I like to make lists. I am always bugging Big K to tell me what his "favorite places, foods etc" are. In case you don't realize, I also like food. Everywhere we go, whether it is New York city or Namibia, we try to eat some of the local cuisine. So, the last one was a list of each of our top 5 (or so) foods, where they were and why. Here is our combined effort: K and K's top 10 foods from May to August (an ongoing list). In no particular order.

1. Steak Florentine - Florence, Italy - This is just a big T bone steak. No sauce. Just meat.

2. Pickled Anchovy tapa - Madrid, Spain -- cold pickled fish. Sounds weird, but tastes awesome!

3. Mussels in creamy garlic sauce - Paternoster, South Africa

4. Shrimp - Tofo, Mozambique -- at two dollars a plate, these were fried to perfection and crispiness

5. Shrimp dish - Bologna, Italy -- the whole meal was fantastic, but the shrimp were our fave. It had white beans and tomatoes and olive oil and goodness...

6. Mussels in Biarritz, France -- comes with fries, and a nice creamy sauce. Yummy.

7. Dorado (fish) in Porto, Portugal -- whole fish, fried to crispy goodness

8. Gnocchi at same restaurant as shrimp in Bologna -- this restaurant was fabulous!

9. Tapas at Fork in Cape Town

10. Last but not least, Spaghetti Carbonara in Rome. Love the Italian food....love it!

More to come once we try a few more places.

On Top of The Table

We hiked Table Mountain yesterday. It was gorgeous. Luckily, we decided to do it yesterday instead of the day before, as it rained the day before, but was absolutely gorgeous yesterday. It took us about 2 hours to get to the top, which is about 3000 feet up. It was a hard slog, as it is all stone steps which are uneven, bumpy and slippery. Some are about 2 inches apart; others are a foot and a half. My legs were wobbly!

We got to the top, where you can see pretty much all of Cape Town. There is a walk around that you can take that takes about an hour and gives you pretty much a 365 view of the city. It is a very beautiful city; it is surrounded by water on three sides and has Table Mountain as well as a few other mountains right in the middle of the peninsula, so it is quite pleasing to the eye. Not only that, but it is winter here right now and it must have been about 65 degrees yesterday. Not too shabby.

Here are a couple of photos from the hike.  I found that weird looking bearded guy on the side of the road and befriended him. You can find more here.


Free at Last. Hallelujah!

So, we have been camping for the last...um...2 or 3 weeks. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind camping. In fact, I don't mind it at all. However, after camping for 3 weeks, sleeping on the ground, freezing, waking up at 445 am because the neighbors are going fishing, cooking top ramen every day for dinner and getting into stupid arguments with big K because there is no space for us to be away from each other, let me just say, I am GLAD we decided to stay in the Westin in Cape Town for a couple of days.

We have our OWN bathroom. Score. WITH a HOT shower. Bonus.

We also have....a bed. Oh man is it nice. I totally took it for granted before but beleive me, it is the best thing in the world these days.

We have food. Okay, well we have free breakfast and free happy hour snacks and drinks...but its free. And it's food. And its NOT top ramen.

Anyway, I got pretty spoiled when I was working in New Olreans, staying in a nice hotel or apartment, getting a stipend for food every day. Now I pinch pennies because every extra dollar I save means I can stay one more day on the road. But sometimes it is hard. Big K and I get into the STUPIDEST arguments because I want to save two dollars and he wants to just have hot food for a change, or I want to camp and he wants to splurge on a hotel, or I want to take the bus and he wants to rent a car..... Yup, I am the cheap one and he is the extravagant one.

But, we are having fun. Right now we are in Cape Town, and let me tell you, it is absolutely freaking BEAUTIFUL! I mean...BEAUTIFUL. On a bay with mountains...what more can you ask for? It's great. AND for the first time in a little while, we have the chance to go to the post office, buy replacement camping items, camera items etc and just relax in our awesome hotel.

The other day we went to Simon's town and saw the African Penguins (ps I love penguins!!) We also went to Cape Point (see photo above) which is the end of the Cape Town peninsula. It was gorgeous.

Tomorrow we plan to hike Table Mountain, which is one of the peaks in the middle of the city. It is about 3000 feet tall. After that, it is off on a hell bent for leather trip up the east coast, as we have to be back in Mozambique for our flight to India on the 8th of September, which is getting nearer and nearer!!!

So, where to next, you ask. Well, let me enlighten you. Our plans today include India, Nepal, China, most of South East Asia, including Vietnam and Indonesia and then a tiny trip to Australia before heading home for good. How long will this last, you ask. I do not know. Our flight right now is scheduled to be home on Dec 22, but we are seriously considering an extension. So plans may change. I will update you all as I know what is going on. And I usually don't know.



We went on a safari to Etosha National Park in Namibia and we saw so many animals! It is cool there because you can drive yourself and there are tons of watering holes so you can drive around and see animals then sit at the watering holes and see more animals. We even stayed the night in the park and you can sit at the watering hole, which they have flood lights on, and see the animals at night. The coolest thing was the lions. We got right up next to them and they are so big!

Now we are in South Africa, after about 2 whole days of driving, and we are staying in the mountains in a place called Cedarberg. We went hiking yesterday; the terrain is totally different from what I am used to. There are mountains, but they are soapstone so they are worn away in strange patters instead of being granite or serpentine, which is more jagged, which is what I am used to. There are barely any trees; there are lots of scrubby bushes, which make the mountain look green from far away, but are really kind of bristly from up close. Nothing compared to the pines and cedars at home. For a place called Cedarberg, I have seen few cedars!

Next we will travel to the west coast of S Africa, which is called the "Western Cape" where it is said that the cliffs go right to the sea. I am imagining Big Sur type cliffs, but we shall see what we run into. South Africa is very civilized; there are real grocery stores with stocked shelves!! It is almost like home, except there is still a large black/white separation.


Comb The Desert!

We ain't found shit!! Sorry, I had to put a Spaceballs reference in this. We rented a car and our first stop was the Namib-Naukluft National Park, which is a dune park near Sossusvlei, Namibia. It was awesome. Supposedly, as you can read on the link above, these are the world's oldest dunes, and sometimes some of the tallest (they change with the wind).  We left Windhoek and thought we would take the "shortcut", which turned out to be a dirt road...the entire way, which was about 300 km (about 200 miles). We thought we would be there around 7 pm; we ended up getting in around 10 pm. It was dark and there were many animals on the road. (see previous post re list of animals)

We went to the dunes, hiked up them and down them and all around them. We got up at 4 o'clock to sit in a line at the gate of the park in order to watch the sun rise over the dunes, which is cool, as they have the shade on one side and the sun on the other and they have such a high spine and a windy one. However, once you've seen one dune, the others all look very similar.
It was very fun, but very hot, so we retired to our campsite to find that...our tent was gone!! And somebody was in our space!! As it turns out, there had been heavy wind and our tent had blown away. The resort had found it and secured it with rocks (ooops, I guess we will use tent spikes from now on!) and they gave us another spot so all was well.

The next day we drove north to Swakopmund, which is a German inspired town near the beach with the dunes in the distance. You can do many things here such as sand boarding and dune buggies but we are using the time to use the (fast!) internet, do laundry, run errands, grocery shop (we are self catering!) and get things like that done before hitting the road again tomorrow.

Things have been a lot more expensive in Namibia than in any of the other countries. We sure are not getting the 1 dollar rice and chicken plate anymore! But, you get other things, such as cleanliness and fast internet for the price. I am not sure if it is worth it, as I was hoping to save money in Africa. I have also heard that South Africa is expensive and that is our next stop. So, PB&Js to the rescue!

I have a feeling we will have better access to the internet so hopefully can avoid these long stretches of time where I am silent.

I did put some phtos online. Please check them out at your leisure HERE.

Hell Week

So what has happened to us, you ask?! Well.....

You last left us in Malawi. Big K was doing his diving certification and I was chillin with S and R who were good fun, reading and relaxing at the lakeshore. From there, we had hell day. Wait, it was hell week!

From there, which was Nkata Bay, we had to go to Lilongwe, which is also Malawi, but is about 8 hours from Nkata Bay. So we took a morning bus at 5 am, it rained, no wait, POURED on us the whole walk to the bus WITH all of our stuff. We arrived at Lilongwe, kind of dryish and tiredish and got the closest hotel to the station because the NEXT day we had to get up again and catch a bus at 6 (which did not leave until 8) which lasted all day again. We arrived in Lusaka at 9ish (PM), had to pitch our tent (yes, we ARE camping!)

So...the NEXT day, we did the same thing... a 8 hour bus ride from Lusaka to Livingstone, where Victoria Falls is (Zambia). We stayed there one day, went to look at the falls, relaxed (in our tent) and then the NEXT day...yup you guessed it -- anohter travel day! This one was actually interesting. I think I said before that I hitchhiked for the first time. This was that day. We wanted to take a bus from Livingstone to Windhoek, Namibia. This is about an 18 hour bus ride. However, the bus only goes on Wednesday and Sunday. Today was Thursday. So, we tried to get a bus but they said we had to go to another town to get it. So we took a taxi 60 km to the next town where they dropped us off....at the side of the road. Mind you, at this time it was about 630 am. So...we hitched. The guy who picked us up was super nice and was actually traveling in a caravan, two trucks long. They always travel together.

The guy, Franco, was from...Namibia! Yay! Since that was where we were trying to go, we asked him if we could go all the way with him. He said yes, although he was going to a different town, but we could go with him as far as we needed. Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!!! His partners were great too, we actually switched trucks in the middle. We saw elephants and warthogs!! We learned A LOT about Namibia. We did not go over 100 km/hr (they have a sensor that sends a signal to the home office if they go over 100). We did not make it to the end. We had to get off in the middle because it was 10 pm. Namibia is a HUGE country!

The next day, we hitched again, met a nice guy named Bob and his dog, Poppy (named for "the item you get from Poppies". I didnt ask him to elaborate), tried to rent a car but were told we DID need to go to Windhoek (pronounced VindHoke) after all. So, we got another ride with a great guy named Sam (who had AC -- wonder of wonders!!) He was a wealth of information. He told us all about the human trafficking from Nigeria and China. He told us all about the gun laws. He knew so much. I asked him if the cops were corrupt here. He said no and he knew all about the programs they have within the government where they watch the cops to make sure that they stay legal. I was thinking "this guy knows his stuff!!" Then we asked him what he did. He says, "I work for the police". Hahaah. Oops. He was super nice. We finally got to Windhoek around 8 pm.

This was the end of hell week. 6 days of travel. No rest. Camping on the ground, riding in uncomfortable buses for 6 days in a row. We got a car to continue our journey and I am sooooo glad. We are traveling every day, but it is no big deal anymore. We can stop when we want! You dont know how good this is! Anyway, more about that later. Hell week is over.


The Gods (and Lists) Must Be Crazy

I thought of more things that I have found out about while in Africa:

- Rats. Fried. On a skewer. : YUM

-It is okay to throw rocks at your neighbor's goat.

-It is also okay to throw trash/food/etc out the window of your bus/on the ground/in a hole in the ground. There is trash EVERYWHERE. (except Namibia... it is cleaner)

-There is a lot of skirt on skirt action. The women wear a skirt and then wrap another one around it. My mom would love it.

-Things you can buy from the window of your bus:
     Fried Pastries
Okay the list goes on forever, but if you ever want anything, just ride the bus! (ps the rats I mentioned before = CAN be bought from the bus)

Well, thats it for now. I am sure I will have more things to say about Africa later. I am in Namibia now, having hitched a ride (dont tell my mom!) for the first time in my life. From Zambia to Namibia, in a 18 wheeler (also my first ride in one of those!). I am alive now, so I can talk about it freely.

A quick list of animals I have seen! From the car! At night! Be careful on the road, that's what I have learned.

Zebra --- we thought it was a donkey, but then....STRIPES! Fun!
Oryx -- a large deer with huge straight horns and a horsey tail
Warthog -- cute, but ugly!
Porcupine -- I didnt know they had them in Africa
Wild dog -- looks like a dog with bigger ears
Unknown birds -- to be announced later
Rabbits -- or hares? about 50 of them!

I love it here! It is what I expected and it is not what I expected. I thought plains and grasses and animals and tribes like in National Geographic. It IS a little like that and so much more.

A couple of things you may or may not know:

Most of the countries in Southern Africa speak English: Mozambique speaks Portuguese. Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Malawi and Botswana speak English, Africaans and about a dozen (or so) tribal Languages. You thought I had to learn those clicking sounds to get around over here, but...as unglamorous as it is, I can mostly get along with English.

Namibia just gained their independence 17 years ago. Mozambique I think gained theirs in 1975 (from Portugal) but has been in Civil wars with themselves until about 1994. Wounds are still fresh.

A beer in each of the countries I have been so far in Africa costs about 1 dollar. This is very important information.

There is still a lot of racial strife here. In Zimbabwe the whites came and staked their claim on land and began to farm it. Not long ago, the government decided to give the land back to the natives. People are angry. Still.

Enough for today! Waka Waka Hey Hey!